Milken Scholars Alumni Fund: By Alumni for Alumni

Published 10/02/2023 in Alumni Features, Program Updates
Written 10/02/2023

Well, another summer has ended all too quickly, and a new school year is rapidly kicking off. Around this time of year, it’s difficult not to remember the nervousness of learning new professors’ names, the excitement for the opportunity to get a new folder or two, and the dread of having to wake up bright and early.

We probably also think of the classmates and mentors who have (and are) making an impact on our lives. The Milken Scholars’ Alumni Fund was established to extend this community well after graduation. It offers scholars—many of whom pursue paths in public service, civic engagement, or community health, and come from diverse backgrounds—a secure and stable support system to lean on as they navigate life’s uncertainties, challenges, and opportunities.

In our two short years as an official organization, we’ve doled out nearly $15,000 and helped 14 Scholars weather financial and/or medical emergencies, or participate in developmental opportunities that advanced their careers (like being sponsored to participate in international conferences or receive funds for graduate school tuition). But the Fund’s support extends beyond the financial—we’ve directly facilitated Alumni connecting to each other and receiving expertise and guidance they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. We’re proud of the work we’ve done to date, and we’re excited to see what we accomplish in the future together.

Our fundraising goal for FY23 was $10,000 and we’ve nearly reached it! With just $1,500 more donated (and the remainder of the difference being matched by the Board), we’ll be able to reach our goal and continue to support alumni. If you’re interested in supporting our Milken Alumni community, please click here to donate. Explore our Milken Scholars Alumni Fund page for additional opportunities to get involved.

To understand more of the impact of the Fund, we talked to Julián Nelson, MS ’15, and Judit Tejada, MS ’92, and Board Member of the Milken Alumni Fund.

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Judit Tejada MS '92

Judit joined the Alumni Fund for the opportunity to give her "time, talent, and treasure" to the broader community. Her most impactful memories still come from her early years as a member. "Thinking back to how Mariano Guzman or others like him would have us over for dinners and holiday parties really left an impression on me. It was so incredible to see someone so successful be dedicated to giving back like that. As I've gone through my career and became a mother, I've realized just how important it was for me to be exposed to that generosity at an early age. It may have been something seemingly so small for him, but for us who went, it was truly inspiring."

Julián Nelson MS ‘15

Julián attended an information session about the Alumni Fund and was inspired to get involved, recognizing he had an opportunity through his expertise and experience. In addition to contributing to the fund, Julián partners with Alum to build financial plans aligned with their goals and capabilities, adjusting their strategy as needed. While he gave both his time and monetary resources to the community, Julián believes he was the one who benefited. "In donating to the Fund and working to offer financial advice to a scholar alum who benefitted from the funding resources, I established connections and offered my mentorship, which made me immensely happy; I loved and thoroughly enjoyed doing it."


Diana Hong, MS '99, Communications Chair
Rashan Jibowu, MS '02, Member-at-Large
Daniel Lee, MS '14, Treasurer
Sepora Makabeh, MS '13, Fundraising Chair
Ana Pavich, MS '89, Chair
Francis Poon, MS '09, Member-at-Large
Judit Tejada,  MS '92, Secretary
Michael Terry, MS '00, Member-at-Large